Calling All STEM Majors:  What can SU do for you?

Newly plastered signage for the I-STAR Center. Inside, students can apply to be a tutor, or visit to be tutored in core STEM subjects. (Kiyanna Givens/DIGEST)

Earlier this semester, flyers were posted on the doors of T.T. Allain Hall, mentioning the potential for students to earn money if they are currently enrolled in Math 135. The hours of operation for the tutoring sessions are located right beside each flyer.

Associate Professor of Science and Math Education in The College of Sciences and Engineering, Dr. Francesca Mellieon-Williams, was asked how did this opportunity come about. She responded by saying, “We just started it this semester, we received a grant from The Department of Education to assist with math and STEM related majors …math is one of the gateway courses that help you get into your other courses… we wanted to look at how we could help with math.”

Two students had the opportunity to express what being apart of this program has done for them. Freshman Animal Science Major, Naomi Cooper from Houston, TX said, “I received an email and I felt like I’m good at math and I could help others improve their math skills…I jumped on board so that I can help students feel more prepared and less stressed when taking a math test.” Junior Mechanical Engineering Major from Dayton, Ohio, Khadijah Ahmad, stated, “I wanted to be a part of it because I knew that I did really well in my math courses and I had the potential to contribute to this program and help the freshman do well…math is an important course in engineering, but it is just as important in other majors as well… though it is a fairly new program I feel that it will grow even stronger next semester.”

The tutoring program also offers assistance from a distance. For instance, if a student is just too busy for academic or extracurricular reasons, they are still able to receive help virtually through online sessions. Dr. Mellieon-Williams further elaborated and said, “We have two students that are available virtually, so you have the option to meet face-to-face or have an online session… you can be at your house and still get help from a live person.” Students interested in online assistance can join one of the virtual coaching sessions using the Zoom video conference platform, available online and on most mobile devices.

When asked about the goal of this program, Dr. Mellieon-Williams clarified the mission of the program and said, “The goal is to have students come in early cannot wait until midterms or the week before finals. We want the students to start with the coaches in week one… there is an incentive, if students come to a tutoring session once a week they will receive a stipend at the end of the semester.”

Coaching is generally available Monday through Friday from 8am to 8pm, although the times can vary depending on the day. The coaching is housed in the PBS Pinchback Engineering Building Learning Center. For students who are interested in earning cash while learning math, contact Dr. Mellieon-Williams at for more info or stop by the Learning Center in PBS Pinchback.

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